Azalina: RCI on task force’s findings into Tommy Thomas’ book

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A royal commission of inquiry (RCI) will be set up to look into the report by the special task force on former attorney-general Tommy Thomas’ book “My Story: Justice In The Wilderness”, Azalina Othman Said said.

The law and institutional reform minister said the cabinet had discussed the findings and decided on the RCI.

“The government views the claims seriously as it violates the professional responsibility that comes with the position in a high office.

“This being the case, the terms of reference for the RCI will involve a wider scope and will not be confined to the task force findings,” she said in a statement today.

Azalina said the RCI was to recommend reform proposals to the country’s judiciary and was not to penalise any single party.

She said Putrajaya will name the terms and members of the commission later.

The special task force, chaired by Sarawak legal adviser and former state attorney-general Fong Joo Chung, identified 19 important issues in the book that required the government’s attention.

The task force, which carried out the probe over a period of nine months, comprised former Sabah secretary Hashim Paijan, and former women, family and community development minister secretary-general Dr Junaidah Kamaruddin.

Other members of the team were former judge and former senior federal counsel Jagjit Singh Bant Singh, lawyers Shaharudin Ali and Balaguru Karupiah, as well as representatives from the Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre and the Chief Government’s Security Office.

Published last year, Thomas’ book was criticised by various quarters, including the Attorney-General’s Chambers, lawyers, politicians and the public for allegedly containing elements of incitement, insults and defamation.

More than 100 police reports were lodged against Thomas over his book.

Thomas, however, hit back when he filed a lawsuit against the special task force in October last year.

He claimed that the establishment of the illegal special task force to purportedly enquire into his conduct and make findings against him was illegal and ultra vires.

He said all purported actions, investigations, and action or steps taken by the special task force were unsupported by any written law and were therefore illegal and void.

Thomas was appointed as attorney-general under the Pakatan Harapan government in 2018 but resigned after the administration collapsed in February 2020. – TMI